Today you are four. Yesterday you were not quite four, and tomorrow you will be just a smidge more than four. It’s been a rather uneventful year for you, considering your history, and I am more than OK with that. We had only one brush with a nasty cold that threatened to keep you overnight at Children’s but didn’t, and coming into your fourth year you are by all accounts healthy, caught up, on track, and amazing.
So here’s a pro tip for all the project managers out there to keep your skills sharp: make sure you take it upon yourself every few years to execute a large-scale project—with your own timeline and your own budget—to give yourself some empathy for your client. Six years ago, I drove Don crazy with my lists of lists, researching and second guessing to ensure that our wedding was as casual and laid-back as I wanted and more, and I firmly believe that it made me a better project manager to experience a project on the client side: to appreciate that budgets and timelines aren’t infinite the way we PMs so often like to believe.
And so here I am, planning another life-changing event: the project manager in me trying to find a way to traverse 4,574 kilometres on time and on budget; the mother in me looking desperately for any and all ways to transform a 10-day cross-country drive with two kids, a cat and a hatchback into The Great Fambly Road Trip (#famblyroadtrip).
The rules, so far:
- No more than 8 hours of driving (by the map) per day. Of course this will likely translate to 10-12 hours per day on the road.
- This is a fambly vacation first, and a functional drive second. We are going to have fun.
I’m not really sure how either of those rules are going to shake out. But with exactly one week left in Vancouver, we are getting anxious to find out.
“Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.”
~ William Makepeace Thackeray
When you’re young, your mother is infallible; she can do no wrong. And then you become a little bit older, a teenager, and your mother can do no right. And then you become a parent yourself and you realize that all that time, your mother really had no idea what she was doing. She was just making it up as she went along, and in the back of her mind, behind the brave face she put on for you, she worried that she was doing it all wrong, and breaking you in the process.
One weekend, about five years ago, I got the crazy idea in my head that I wanted to try my hand at baking some sourdough bread. I searched the Internet and discovered that I couldn’t just whip up a batch of sourdough in a weekend; I spent a few weeks feebly attempting to cultivate a sourdough starter; and when those attempts came up short, I walked away from the sourdough dream for a while.
It didn’t take long for me to revisit the idea, however, and my Internet rabbit hole led me to the BBA Challenge—a group of “home bakers with a crazy goal in mind”: to bake every formula from Peter Reinhart’s book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Now, at the time, I was no bread baker, and hardly worthy of being called an apprentice either. But after more Internet rabbit holes I determined that this Reinhart fellow was a celebrity in artisanal bread circles and his book was one of the finest teachers a novice could turn to. BBA Challenge accepted. I ordered the book and on November 29, 2009, I pulled two loaves of Anadama bread out of the oven. My adventure had begun.
Have you ever tried to explain Easter to a three year old? Whether you try to explain the holiday in the commercial sense—a magical bunny comes around and leaves chocolate covered eggs for us—or in a biblical sense—a man died and was nailed to a cross because you‘ve been bad (!!)—the holiday isn’t an easy one to explain to a young child with an innocent sense of wonder. Don and I ended up taking a pagan approach to the day, and told Nyana that we were celebrating all the animals who make babies in the spring, and that because the bunnies make the most babies of all (again, !!), it’s an Easter Bunny who brings us chocolate to celebrate, because who doesn’t want to celebrate with chocolate?
The Easter Bunny arrived at our house right on schedule, and had a plethora of foil-wrapped eggs for Nyana and Fred to discover when they awoke on Sunday morning. It took them a bit longer to find everything than we’d anticipated—we really needed to coax Nyana into searching some of the more obscure spots—but half an hour after waking up, both Ny and Fred were well on their way to a sugar high.
I’m an accidental blogger. I say that as an attempt to make an excuse for why this space has been so neglected for so long. I could blame it on the fact that I have two kids and a full time job, but that would be admitting that I’m not one of those SuperMoms who can find 24 usable hours in every day. No, I’ll blame it on the fact that I never set out to be a blogger—a mommy blogger, at that—and if I were to be completely honest, I could probably admit that I’m a bit too selfish with my time to be any good at this blogging business, anyways. But, as with most things as I grow older, I know one day I’ll look back on these words and be glad I found the time.
Time. There’s never enough, really, and I waste so much of it lamenting how it goes too fast, or urging my little people to hurry up, or to slow down, or to just stop. Sigh. It’s a war I’ll never win.
It’s hard to believe a whole year has passed since we welcomed you into this world. (A year and a bit, now, actually… I’ve not been very good at keeping on top of recording your moments, have I?) The details of your arrival are fuzzy, I’m afraid—your birthday was a long, boring 14 hours of hurry up and wait followed by three terrifying hours of plummeting heart rates, morphine-induced nausea, and finally, emergency surgery. Much like your sister’s arrival, your birth did not at all go according to plan and even included an overnight in the same nursery where your sister spent many of her earliest days; unlike your sister’s arrival, however, we had you bundled safely at home with us within 36 hours of meeting you.
Hey guys! It’s time to take a minute and shamelessly ask you for your time, your energy…your votes!! Consider it the “advertisement” portion of The Show. We came across this organization called Hand To Hold, that is building an online support network for families of premature babies. They’re doing a great job so far, and are holding a photo & essay contest to celebrate upcoming World Prematurity Day in November. This year’s theme is superheroes, so naturally we had to enter! If you could spare a minute of your day to go vote for us, we’d really appreciate it. We could win an ipad!!
Today, you are three. Yesterday you were not quite three, and tomorrow you will be just a smidge more than three. You’ve been through quite a bit in the 1,096 days you’ve been alive—not many ladies your age can speak candidly of hoses-for-noses and scars where feeding tubes used to be. From a neonate whose weight was charted in grams to a beautiful curly-haired princess whose infectious giggle warms my heart and melts away even the lousiest of days, you, my dear, have had me wrapped around your tiny little finger from the very first moment I heard your tiny little cry.
And here we are, a thousand days and a thousand steps from where this story first began, and we are realizing that this story is still just beginning. Realizing that as we’d once hoped, the rocky crash-landing beginnings of your life—the unnerving beep beep beep of the NICU and the unending uncertainty of your little life—would, in fact, be just a drop in the bucket to reflect on, a drop rippling outward, shaping who you are and touching a multitude of lives along the way.
As I write this, Fred is at my side, squirming and pawing at the closest edge of the laptop, pivoting around on his belly in the small space that I have allowed him by sitting on the edge of the couch to type. Ten minutes ago he was on his way to sleep, half-lidded and calm as the droning announcers of the hockey game on TV lulled him off to my favourite place that I miss so much, Sleepytown. That’s when I closed Facebook and loaded Baldur’s Gate – it’s a game, and yes, I did think I could get away with it. For the first time in weeks, I thought I had a nice window of time where there were no pressing projects and no crying children to keep me from a little dungeon looting. Nyana was being suitably quiet in her Quiet Time and Fred was just dozing off, so it was perfect….or was he? I think he heard the soft tap of my finger on the mousepad as I opened the folder with the game in it. He was stirring by the time the load screen had appeared and as my finger hovered over the “load game” button, he had started grunting and moaning and generally needing my direct attention. The Fred Alarm Clock has gone off again, and by the smells wafting up to me from my side right now, I’d say there’s no snooze button on this one.
>please enjoy this musical interlude while I clean him up<